1 (1) Lakers 7-0 Favorable schedule or not, this has been some opening statement from the defending champs ... Pau especially. So much for starting slowly, Kobe's supposed advancing age, saving their legs for the playoffs Celtics-style, etc.
2 (3) Celtics 6-1 It's not just the Lakers making us know-it-alls look silly for suggesting that various title contenders would ease into the season. The Celts are back in the top two after a 4-0 week awash in more glorious Rondo dimeage.
3 (2) Heat 5-2 Getting tweets galore from giddy Bosh bashers saying we should've seen his struggles coming. That we overrated him. Say what? No one pegged Bosh to lead the Heat in scoring, but who didn't expect him to rebound?
4 (11) Hornets 6-0 The Hornets have never started 6-0 before. Ever. So you can safely assume that, yes, Chris Paul is pretty healthy and happy right now, despite our claim (as laid out above) that No. 4 is as high Team CP3 can go for now.
5 (5) Magic 4-1 Still thinking, fairly or unfairly, about the beatdown that the Magic absorbed in Miami. Perhaps Monday night's reunion with the Atlanta team they abused in the playoffs this past spring will get my mind out of the gutter.
6 (10) Spurs 4-1 The Spurs have very quietly injected their roster with some quality youth: George Hill, Blair, Splitter, maybe even sleeper Gary Neal. Which is one big reason we keep saying they might be L.A.'s biggest worry out West.
7 (8) Nuggets 4-2 We say this not because George Karl is such a loyal rankings reader but because it's true: His Nuggets haven't received nearly enough credit for how hard/well they've played in the face of Melo drama and injuries.
8 (4) Trail Blazers 5-3 Latest entry for your next You'll Never Guess What Happened To Portland This Time discussion: The Blazers were assigned to play five games in the second week of the season ... and had to visit the Lakers in game No. 5.
9 (6) Hawks 6-1 Tell us, America: Disappointed in the Hawks for losing at home to Phoenix in the first game they've played against a team projected as playoff-worthy? Or does a 4-0 road record mean more than who they've played?
10 (9) Mavericks 3-2 The Rangers couldn't quite close. The Cowboys are suddenly America's Laughingstock. The town is there to be taken ... and the Mavs are averaging 14.0 points and 8.5 turnovers in their past two fourth quarters at home.
11 (18) Suns 3-3 You thought the way Phoenix forced overtime in Friday's win over Memphis was wild? Get this: You have to go back to 1999-2000 for the last time Nash began a season with five straight games with fewer than 10 assists.
12 (7) Thunder 3-3 Will too much be made of the fact that OKC has been beaten at home on back-to-back Sundays with plenty of preparation time in advance of both games? In the world of inflated expectations? You know our answer by now.
13 (14) Jazz 3-3 After that mighty struggle to take out the out-of-joint Clips -- who haven't won a game in Utah since January 2003 -- it's official: I definitely underestimated how much this Jazz misses how well Okur spaces the floor.
14 (12) Grizzlies 3-4 Some trivia for Griz fans to take in as they try (in vain) to forget the game their lads gave away in Phoenix: Rudy Gay just became the first player in franchise history to score at least 25 points in five consecutive games.
15 (19) Warriors 4-2 The Dubs haven't started like this at home (4-0) since Run TMC opened 6-0 in Oaktown way back in 1990-91. So they don't really care that two of the victims (Rockets and Griz) were on the back end of a back-to-back.
16 (13) Bulls 2-3 The Bulls' final home date before their annual Circus Road Trip is Saturday's Derrick Rose-versus-John Wall track meet. Not the worst way to sign off before a hellacious seven-game jaunt. (Click here for the haunting details.)
17 (23) Knicks 3-3 The weekend provided a telling illustration of life around the Knicks: Way too much was made of the big W in Chicago, and too much panic is bubbling anew after Sunday's home L to Philly halted a two-game win streak.
18 (22) Cavaliers 3-3 Totally guilty of stealing this line from Adande, but can't resist: This morning's standings supply the best if the playoffs started today setup of all time: No. 4 Cleveland would open against No. 5 Miami in Round 1.
19 (15) Bucks 2-5 Skiles, as always, has these guys overachieving on D. The issue has been the Bucks' O: They're last in the league in offensive efficiency after two weeks and thus pretty much headlining the list of early disappointments.
20 (17) Rockets 1-5 The five teams (Lakers, Warriors, Nuggets, Hornets and Spurs) that ushered the Rockets to an 0-5 start are a combined 25-5. That's the good news. The really bad news: PG Brooks (ankle) just went down for four to six weeks.
21 (28) 76ers 2-5 Despite four straight 20-point games from Brand -- his longest such streak since April 2007 -- folks in Philly already have dialed down the playoff talk. Year 1 under Collins and Thorn is suddenly an "audition season."
22 (20) Kings 3-3 The Kings' brief rise into the top 20 was surely dismissed in some precincts as a byproduct of Omri-related exuberance. Yet we still say going 3-1 with three games on the road, for this unproven crew, made it a legit bump.
23 (16) Pacers 2-3 That's what we get for trying to launch into a MIP discussion in this cyberspace after three games. Certainly not putting it all on Hibbert, but the Pacers' two games since our last rankings were undeniably rough viewing.
24 (29) Pistons 2-5 Let the record show the game that put a halt to the Pistons' full-on descent into crisis -- Friday's win over Charlotte -- came with a certain Tracy McGrady starting at point guard after the benching of young Stuckey.
25 (21) Nets 2-4 Think we all knew 2-0 was a mirage for Avery's kids when they had to play Miami twice and Orlando in their next four games. But even the biggest Nets cynic surely never expected Lopez to shoot 14-for-50 in three games.
26 (30) Clippers 1-6 This is the third successive season that the Clips started 0-4. Have to point out, though, that they haven't played anyone with a losing record yet and start this week with a back-to-back in New Orleans and San Antonio.
27 (24) Wizards 1-4 Is there a sub-.500 team you'd rather watch than the Wiz? Especially now that Gil is back? We say no even after two weekend L's that snuffed out the euphoria generated by Wonder Wall's breakout game against Philly.
28 (27) Bobcats 1-5 Just to make it clear how new owner Michael Jordan saw things before the Bobs' disheartening start, via the Charlotte Business Journal: "We've got to make the playoffs. ... Anything less than that is a step backwards."
29 (26) Raptors 1-5 Here's a capsule glimpse of early post-Bosh life north of the border: Jarrett Jack has been the last Raptor unveiled to Air Canada Centre-goers during pregame introductions in Toronto's first two home games.
30 (25) Timberwolves 1-6 The sad Wolves are superlucky's daily automated rankings haven't started yet. Losing both ends of a back-to-back in Florida by 74 combined points would have dropped them out of Hollinger's top 30.
I remember a few people actually thought the Timberwolves would be competitive after that Lakers preseason game.